June 21st, 2007

A Little Contest: winners

Thanks to everyone who contributed.  There were more than fifty contributions--I winnowed them down to 6, then finally to two, at which point I couldn't decide.  So it ends up a tie between rumblegirl and the anonymous author of the following:

It was in the dreams that his world expanded into full color. The blood was red, the sky was deep indigo, the walls were blacker than despair. Somehow when he woke up the colors his eyes focused were pastel shades of the colors he dreamed. Even the violence of killing less important than the colors he found in the dreams. He began to spend his time in corners with his eyes closed rather than wandering into school or work or talking with his friends. He wanted that vividness.

If you wish to claim your prize, contact me with a mailing address at:


Once again, thanks to everyone.
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Kazuaki Tanahashi

I have a little day-by-day calendar that offers inspirational quotes of a Buddhist nature. Yesterday's seemed to me to be a good credo for writing, as well as living.

"Less judgment, less trying, less improvement, less regret."

The author's name was unfamiliar to me: Kazuaki Tanahashi. Googling around, I discovered a fascinating fellow who paints and writes.

Here's one of his beautiful images:


Here's a photo of KT from a seminar of two years ago.


Here's an interesting, albeit 13-year-old interview:


And here's his homepage:

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Laura Albert

I really must call unfair competition against Laura Albert, the brilliant scammer behind the J. T. Leroy hoax.

Read the latest revelations here: http://tinyurl.com/2ocqfr

She has certainly raised the bar excessively high for writers of fiction who once managed to get a little useful publicity via a harmless eccentricity or two. Once upon a simpler time, all it took to get noticed was such a little matter as walking your pet lobster down the streets of Paris, as did Gérard de Nerval:


Now, we're expected to create a Sturgeonesque gestalt personality with a few handy cronies and present it to the world!

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Sixties Novels, Part 24

491, Lars Görling, Bonnier, 1964

Today's rather melancholy entry is a simple, transparent one. Not a lot of revelations here. But the nationality of its author does allow us to detour into a meditation on the nature of steretotypes and myths.

Lars Görling once seemed to have a promising career. You can see it summarized in rudimentary fashion in his lone wikipedia entry, in the Swedish section:


His book 491 was made into a film. In fact, the edition I have is the Grove Press Black Cat one (there's that pivotal Sixties publisher again!) featuring a film still on the cover.


But then artistic failure and personal demons drove him to suicide at a young age. Today, on Abebooks, you can buy a first US edition hardcover of 491 for a little over a dollar, testifying to Görling's utter lack of collectibility or literary stature.

What's the book about? From the IMDB entry:

"Not unlike RAINMAKER but with a more direct sexual tone, 491 is miles away from most of the R-and-X rated Swedish films that landed in the U.S. around the same time. Serious to a fault, it tells the story of a mesmerizing young man who seduces a family. Title comes from a (false) reading of the Christian text to forgive others "seventy times seven," and posits that after 490 sins, your number is up. Disturbing, memorable, with terrific acting and direction. Worth a look."

The mention of "R-and-X rated Swedish films" brings us to our digression.

How the heck did the Scandanavian countries ever get their reputation as hotbeds of lusty lewdness and swinging free-love blondes? It's a stereotype or myth that permeated the Sixties, and continues to this day. In a recent counterfactual episode of THE SIMPSONS, the one guest-starring jerry Lewis, where Professor Frink won the Nobel Prize, the establishing shot for the transition to Stockholm featured a closeup of a naked female police office directing traffic. Every viewer, I'm sure, instantly got the joke.

The free-love Swede is right up there with miserly Scots, Polynesian cannibals, American Indian chiefs who say "How!" and slackjawed yokels in our cultural iconography.